Dharamsala, March 31: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ram Madhav on Saturday said India has always hosted people in difficult times with an open heart.
Speaking here at an inaugural event to mark the 60th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s arrival in India, he said: “We know the life of a refugee is very tough…we hosted many people in trouble. India always welcomes with open arms and with an open heart those in difficulty.”
Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma and members of Parliament — Shanta Kumar of BJP and Satyavrat Chaturvedi of Congress — were also present at the event along with Nobel Peace Laureate the Dalai Lama and functionalities of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), comprising its President Lobsang Sangay.
Addressing the Tibetan administration-in-exile based here, Madhav said: “Friends we don’t want to use the word refugee (for you). This is your land. At the most, you are in exile and Tibet is waiting for you.”
He said India also gave shelter to the Jews and Parsi communities.
“India has always played an affectionate and endearing host to all those who chose its lands as temporary home and spiritual abode. Jews came, Parsis came and many others too landed in India seeking refuge. India has welcomed them with open arms and with an open heart.”
“We can understand the life of a refugee with the loss of livelihood and the life is in struggle. But thanks to His Holiness and the people who came here (in 1959),” the BJP leader said.
Linking the bondage the Tibetans have from India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to the present incumbent Narendra Modi, he said: “Right from Nehru to Modi, the successive governments in India have followed One China Policy at political level.”
“However, our bonds with the Tibetans are least political and intensely religious-cultural. In fact, India owes a big thank you to Tibet for preserving that ancient Indian wisdom and knowledge and bringing it back to India.
“We are thus cultural and spiritual cousins. And India is not a land of refuge for you, but your own land of sacred bonds. His Holiness says that the blood of Tibetan exiles in India is made of the rice and ‘dal’ and ‘roti’ that they ate all these years. Thus this land belongs as much to you as is it to us.”
An optimistic Madhav added: “However, the fact remains that you are in exile. We wish that you return to your motherland soon.”
After initially cancelling events in Delhi, the Tibetan government-in-exile has now started countrywide “Thank You India” programme to mark the beginning of the 60th year of the Dalai Lama arriving in India.
Union Culture Minister Sharma said it was indeed an emotional moment “for us”.
“The word refugee is painful to be used for anyone, any where. Tibetans are our friends and esteemed guests in India. We love to have this relation of togetherness and brotherhood.”
“Whenever we take the message of peace, humanity and brotherhood to the world, Tibet’s culture is an integral part of it. We remain committed to protect and support the Tibetan culture, its heritage and history,” the Minister said.
“We truly believe that the kind of relationship India and Tibet share among themselves doesn’t really need a thank you. Indian and Tibetan culture is inextricable like flower and its fragrance,” Sharma added. (IANS)